Dec 13, 2012

Simplify Christmas - Let's talk gifts

The quiet stillness is broken by the occasional popping of the fire in the fireplace.  

A lit-up Nativity scene silently stands watch over the dim room.

Lights twinkle on the tree.  The room is filled with the smells of pine and hot apple cider.

It's Christmastime again. 

It's a time to reflect back on the blessings of the year.

It's a time for late nights of crafting and baking and hours of Christmas songs that get stuck in your head.

It's a time for snuggles on the couch under a fuzzy red blanket, reading stories about Small Ones and Trees that become so much more.

It's a time for the struggle every Christian parent faces, which is: how to keep Christmas simple and keep it from running away with your family to Pleasure Island (the cursed island from Pinocchio, which turns you into an ass).

If you haven't seen the movie Pinocchio for awhile - the Island is full of boys drinking and smoking and fighting and playing pool and eating all the candy they want, Pinocchio is tempted there by some "cool kids" from school and after awhile they all turn into braying donkeys... these scenes in the movie remind me of the mall at Christmastime, just sayin'.

Meanwhile we juggle the elf on the shelf and the fat guy in the red suit and try to talk our kids out of asking for gifts that Santa can't afford... since "he makes it all in his toy shop, why does it matter how much it costs?" Argh!


I don't know what you do, but we start by trying to limit the amount of "stuff" the kids get.  
We do this in a few ways:
1. We simplify Grandparents' gifts (please, keep it below 3), and encourage gifts that add value to their lives (a class or experience rather than more stuff, last year my son got a week-long Lego Robotics class, for example)
2. We simplify gifts to and from friends by making them "family gifts", rather than buying gifts for individuals
3. Santa is pretty careful about how much goes in the stocking, and only gets them each ONE "bigger" gift
4. We simplify gifts from us... we follow this cute poem (heard it on the radio a couple of years ago):

 5. We simplify Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - We spend Christmas Eve at church and Christmas night at home in our own beds.  We spend the first part of Christmas day just our immediate family, and we go to only one other home that day.  Every other year we trade off whose parents we go have dinner with on Christmas day. This doesn't mean we don't see the other grandparents... we just do Christmas with that part of the family on a different day.

Christmas is a beautiful time.  A time to reflect, renew and REJOICE! 

Don't allow the chaos that can come with Christmas to steal your joy!

What do you think?  How do you keep the "holiday crazy" from ruining your Christmas JOY?

Gladly linking up with 504 Main for Tickled Pink and Bloggers for Christmas


  1. I just had to save that girft poem... such a good idea!!

  2. I like the comparison to Pinocchio. And I love the idea of simplifying Christmas. Years ago I was frustrated with my family not being Christians and that I couldn't really celebrate Christmas like I wanted if I also wanted to be with my family. Now it's more like I'm frustrated with not being able to be with my family, because I have to work and it's too far going to see my own family. The whole Christmas gift thing has been mainly stressful the last few years, and I'd love not having to do it. But, my family and my husband's family want it in the typical way, so I do get them gifts to make them happy.

  3. I really love this post. I've been trying to simplify, quite a bit actually. My thing has been just enjoying and living the moments...Not letting them slip by unnoticed. I've been trying to make at least one gift per person. This in a way has made it harder on me, but I think makes a more meaningful gift. I like the idea of giving experiences. Like for my 3 year old niece ..I am giving her a paper doll book and colored pencils with a certificate to spend the afternoon with her Auntie cutting them out and laminating them. Not expensive, but time...

    As a family, we are doing something completely different this year...I will be blogging about it in the days to come. Possibly post Christmas. I love that poem above. I'm going to use that!

  4. I love homemade gifts! My mom knits and crochets and I always appreciate those scarves year after year! :) I look forward to reading about what you are doing this year...

  5. I think gifts are a nice tradition, just don't like it to get out of control!! Why go hundreds of dollars into debt to just fill our kids overflowing closets with stuff they don't need?!

  6. I love your way of simplifying Christmas! We changed things last year by cutting way back on the gift giving. It's really crazy when you think about the gift aspect of Christmas. Why do we give multiple gifts to each person?

  7. I suppose I'm not against gifts as such, I also think it's nice. I think it's more that I don't see a point with celebrating (or trying to celebrate) Christmas because of my job and work schedule, but sort of have to do it to keep everyone else happy. And if I was always off work at Christmas, I would definitely still love it.
    And btw - thanks for your very kind words about my blog!!!

  8. I also like to do family gifts. Both sides of our family is so big it is impossible to buy something for everyone. As far as Christmas Day, we spend our with immediate family only. We have a separate day for a family Christmas.

  9. I love these ideas! I try every year to simplify more and more and it is working...I like this "strategy."

  10. Your post is very fitting right now. I feel like this Christmas got "out of control". I didn't get to enjoy many of the traditions that I love sharing with my boys, because I was always running. Won't let that happen again next year!
    Thanks for the ideas!


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